|1. What are you currently up
Currently I'm busy writing for media - TV/film - but I'm planning
another Mad Men album and sifting through ideas - writing proper will
begin in the New Year. Also, although I'm no longer touring with
Saxon, we're starting the writing of their next album in a couple of
weeks - Doug lives nearby so we'll be getting together - with Paul
Quinn as well - to thrash some ideas out at my studio. I co-wrote
four tracks on Killing Ground so I guess you could say I'm the sixth
|2. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to
Highlights-wise, it's been playing with so many great musicians
and also touring the world and visiting countries i would probably
otherwise never seen. Lowpoints - getting pneumonia on tour and
playing with an oxygen mask - never missed a gig though! Felt like
death at times but got through it.
|3. Who have been your biggest influences on your career?
Neil Peart, Simon Phillips, Terry Bozzio, Vinny Coliuta, Bill Ward to
name a few!
|4. Saxon - how did you come to leave the band? Would you like to
rejoin for the 25th anniversary in 2003? Could you see Biff ever
allowing the original Saxon back, even for just one gig?
I ripped a muscle between my neck and shoulder - like pulling a
piece of raw steak apart - and was told to lay off playing for a few
months - fully healed now! - i didn't think it was fair to my
replacement to suddenly go back so i started writing the Mad Men
album during this time. I honestly have no answer for the 25th tour
question - i have my own thing going now so i'm not sure if i could
do it time-wise - might be fun but who knows - see what next year
What's the original Saxon? I was in the band longer than Pete
Gill so do you mean the Power And The Glory line-up? I think too
much water's gone under the bridge - there's a lot of bad feeling
floating around so I can't see it. Don't forget, Doug and Nibbs are
fantastic players - they're always being slammed in certain quarters,
being called faceless session musicians - I'm sure you know who I'm
talking about without naming names - but that's absolute bollocks if
you pardon my French!!! The real fans love them! I've seen it! They
are fully fledged members of Saxon!!!!
You worked with Asia - how did this go? Were you ever asked to
join full time at all? What other sessions have you enjoyed?
I met Geoff Downes when recording the 2nd GTR album - he was
producing - we became good friends and he asked me to do the Asia
sessions for "Aqua" - great fun. We keep in touch all the time - Will
be going down to their studio soon - John Payne, Geoff and myself are
curry freaks so I guess we'll be hitting the local Indian restaurant
swiftly followed by a few pints!!!! I wasn't asked to join the band
at the time of the Aqua sessions - they weren't touring due to
getting the album done and I went back in the studio and on the road
Every session has had it's own enjoyment level - I can't recall one
that was problematic.
|6. How did you get to join Saxon? What was it like touring with the
band - any good road tales to share? Which album(s) do you consider
to highlight your talent best?
I had just got back from Germany - I was with Toyah at the time -
and one of the Saxon managers was a good mate and happened to ring me
up to see if I was available to do The Denim And Leather tour as Pete
Gill had injured a hand. The tour was due to start in a couple of
days in Brighton - where I live! - so, to cut a long story short, I
had to learn nineteen songs in two days and do the gigs - originally
I said I would do a week as i was planning to go into the studio with
Toyah to do a duo type thing - just vocals and all sorts of
percussion - much like Siouxsie and Budgie of The Banshees (The
Creatures). However, after we played Bingley they asked me to join
and, as they say , the rest is history - stupid thing was though, I
had tickets for the Brighton gig but ended up playing it!!!!!
There are too many road tales - I couldn't sort out one!
"Power......." was an important album for me - I felt I had something
to prove to the Saxon fans and it was my first studio album with
them. I think my fave is "Unleash the Beast" - I was totally
satisfied with all aspects of it - composition-wise and playing-wise.
|7. You have a solo CD with Doug Scarrett - how did this come about?
What style is it and could you pick out some album highlights for us please?
As I mentioned in an earlier question, because of my injury, I had
a lot of time on my hands so i just started writing. Originally I was
going to get Doug to play on it but we got some stuff written
together so it ended up being a project for both of us. Style-wise,
i guess it's a bit progressive meets heavy rock with a few different
mixtures thrown in - a lot of the tracks are full of keyboards and
quite pompous and grandiose - I love some of the really big Genesis
instrumental stuff - we were influenced by music that we liked -
there was no master plan to create an album in any one particular
style although it is all instrumental. A track called "Dreadnought"
seems to be a fave with people but, then again, so does another track
called "Snow-capped" - this is very Genesisy - I got into Tony Banks
mode on the keyboards!!.
|8. If you could create a fantasy band line-up who would be in it
There are just so many great musicians out there whose playing I
love that it's just impossible to only have four or five.
|9. Outside of business, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Free time? What free time?????? I enjoy F1 - usually go to the
Monaco GP - my brother lives nearby so I stay with him.
I enjoy the countryside, going to see local bands, going for a
curry, going to the pub, PC games, cycling, loads of different stuff!
|10. Message for your
I always say this and it's true - without you, we musicians wouldn't
get anywhere so I really appreciate your support - Thanks ever so
much for your belief.